Celebrate Love In All Its Forms


Dear CHABSS Community,

My favorite day of the year is a day we celebrate love in all its forms. The love we feel for our families, here on campus and at home and across the world. The love we feel for our students as we watch them grow and transform in front of our very eyes. The love we feel for learning and the power of education. The love we feel for our planet and our role in it. I hope our actions and our words are especially inspired by love today. In fact if you see me anywhere today I am probably going to want to spread the love so watch out!!!

Please use this blog to share how you feel today.

Interim Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences
California State University San Marcos

Today is the day to give


Dear faculty, staff and friends of CHABSS,

There is so much in our world that we can do so little about but here is something we can do. I hope we can all take a moment to participate in Giving Day by helping our students make it to the finish line. Many of our students are food and housing insecure and yet have managed against all odds to make it this far. Let’s reach into our hearts and help them graduate by giving whatever we can, no gift is too small. I know that if we come together as a community we can accomplish more than any one of us could do alone. Today is the day to give, please designate CHABSS, today.



CHABSS Giving Tuesday 2016


Against All Odds: Student Success Fund

The College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences faculty, staff and students forge lifelong connections from day one through graduation, and beyond. We want you to believe in the value of a liberal arts education on Giving Tuesday—November 29, 2016. The College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences is dedicated to innovative education, research, and dissemination of knowledge. We instill critical thinking in our graduates to recognize human and societal needs; design innovative and sustainable solutions; and embrace a global perspective. Your contribution to our Student Success Fund will help provide transformative educational opportunities and experiences that prepare students to engage in the community through creativity, community service, leadership, and life-long learning.

More specifically, we would like to honor and help those students who have persevered against all odds to get here and now need our help to graduate in 2017. Many of our students are first generation students: first in their families to go to college but also first in their families to be here in the United States. We would like to help these students and their families succeed. Another obstacle our students face is food and housing insecurity. A study released in February from the Chancellor’s Office estimated that 8.7% of students are housing insecure and 21% are food insecure. However, a student survey at CSULB estimated that those numbers are even higher – 12% housing insecure and 24% food insecure. Here is our opportunity to come together as a CHABSS community and foster a supportive and inclusive environment where all our students get a chance to succeed and contribute to our region. This is our chance to serve as a role model and inspire practical realization of ethics, integrity and social responsibility.

Each gift given on Giving Tuesday will be matched up to $1000 per gift and $25,000 total gifts by CSUSM Foundation Board Member and donor Jack Raymond. We challenge you to be our match by giving a gift that would ensure that another student will graduate next year by designating your gift to CHABSS. Every contribution is viewed as important. Whether it is great or small, gifts like yours help build the future of our community and will leave a lasting legacy to our students because building an enduring bond makes almost anything possible.

Give a gift and share our message with family and friends. Many companies offer matching gift programs to their employees. Realize the reach your gift and message will have on CHABSS students and beyond.

Be our match and designate a gift to CHABSS on Giving Tuesday, November 29, 2016.



Post-Election Faculty Panel: Perspectives from Across the Disciplines


What is the short and long term impact of this election? What has this election done to the stability of, and our faith in the integrity of, some of our fundamental democratic institutions — the election process itself, the news media, polling, the primary election process, etc. What is the future of the two major parties? Has our political dialogue been irreparably coarsened? Will our electorate become even more polarized? What does this election mean for foreign policy and our relationships with other countries? These are just some of the questions we would like to discuss with the panelists: Stephen Nichols (Political Science), Jill Watts (History), Dino Bozonelos  (Political Science), Brian Dolber (Communication), Raj Pillai (CoBA Management), and Mary Jo Poole (Sociology).

To learn more and participate in the discussion please attend the event on November 10 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm in Markstein Hall 210. To engage a discussion or ask a question, add a comment to this Post-Election post. If you have questions email chabss@csusm.edu.

This is a campus-wide event inclusive of faculty, staff, and students who are all encouraged to join the post-election discussion.

Ranjeeta Basu
Interim Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences



Organizational Structure 2020

bs-building-02_webIn an attempt to be pro-active, I would like us to spend this time discussing and thinking about where we want the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences to be by 2020. There has been some discussion among the upper administration that we are getting “too big” in size and complexity indicating that at some point down the line we might have to consider splitting the college.

People have asked me what “being too big” means. One simple answer is that we are much bigger than the other colleges in terms of students, faculty, number of majors, number of departments and programs, complexity of budgets.

However if we look across the system then we see colleges that are much bigger than us and those that are much smaller than us so it is not merely about the numbers. It is about who we want to be in terms of our identity and the effectiveness of the organization structure in terms of our ability to make decisions, communicate with each other and work collaboratively.

I don’t have an answer but I think it is important for us to talk about it before someone else does that thinking for us. Being bigger could mean being stronger and having more power. But it could also mean being more unwieldly and less nimble. The answer might not be splitting the college but we should look at all the possibilities so that we can come up with a structure that works for us and supports our vision and strategic goals. If we can articulate that plan convincingly, coherently and thoughtfully then we have a better chance of having our voices heard and I will do everything I can to make sure that we are heard. To that end I propose that we have this conversation at the department level and then also at the college level with the goal of coming up with a plan that we can present.

At the suggestion of the department chairs and the college coordinating committee I have come up with a few questions that could help shape the conversation:

  1. What are the potential advantages of splitting the college into smaller units in 2020 or beyond, from the perspective of your department, the college and the university?
  1. What are the potential disadvantages of splitting the college into smaller units from the perspective of your department, the college and the university?
  1. If you could choose any structure you wanted, what would be the ideal structure from the perspective of your department, the college and the university?
  1. If we stay in one college, then are there changes that we can make to our internal structure that might enable us to be more effective in what we do and supports our vision and strategic goals?

Read an article on real obstacles to sustaining the liberal arts have to do with traditional organizational structures and curricular approaches: Liberal Arts, Inflexible Structures.

I welcome and invite conversations about this topic.


College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences
Interim Dean Basu

Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard

Dear CHABSS Community,

I attended the CSUSM Teaching Expo a few days ago and as always I was inspired and enriched by all the innovative ideas presented by faculty. I was reminded yesterday of a student comment that Paul Stuhr, Kinesiology, shared with us at the Expo. The student said, and I am paraphrasing, that after Paul introduced mindfulness practices into the classroom, she was compelled to hold herself to a higher standard. The debate last night reflected just how low the standard has fallen and how easy it is to start normalizing these low standards or to be frustrated with our “leaders” and the example they are setting for us and our students.  I was wondering if we might engage in a conversation about what we can do to inspire ourselves and our students to hold ourselves to a higher standard in everything we do.

Interim Dean, CHABSS

Mindfulness and Compassion


There are several definitions out there but I will start with two definitions:

  1. “Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  1. “Mindfulness is paying attention to your life, here and now, with kindness and curiosity.” – Amy Saltzman



There is a growing body of research that shows that mindfulness can help us in many ways, chief among those are that it can help us:

  1. Quiet the habitual chatter of the mind;
  2. Cultivate a capacity for deep awareness;
  3. Increase focused attention;
  4. Feel connected and compassionate.



  1. Stop — say, three times per day (increase as you wish) wherever you are, take a deep breath and if you can close your eyes, do so and pull everything inward. Then, open your eyes and reconnect outward. A couple of seconds is all you need. As you are doing this ask yourself: How is my body feeling? Am I tense anywhere? If so, can I relax? What is my mind doing? Is it calm, stressed, whirling? Am I in the moment or somewhere else?
  2. When you are in the presence of a person who makes you stressed, unhappy or self-conscious, take a moment to step outside of yourself and bring awareness to your mind and physical self. Where do you feel tension? What if you try to relax it? Does that change the dynamic? What is it inside of you that makes you feel this way?
  3. What is your favorite time of day? If it is morning, for example, take a glance outside your window as you prepare for your day. See if you can notice five to 10 things. Maybe the sky is a magnificent color? Maybe you’ve never noticed the color of your neighbor’s door? Maybe you notice a bird singing?
  4. CHABSS Faculty and Staff should attend one of the weekly sits scheduled for this semester on Wednesdays at noon (KELL 3012) and at 4:00pm (SBSB Faculty and Staff Lounge).


CHABSS Faculty and Staff should sign up for the Mindfulness Based stress Reduction course (8 weeks) offered by HR and MindfulCSUSM.